Facing a surge in COVID-19, public health leaders strongly advise college students to practice caution as many head home for Thanksgiving.
"We want them to remember, that when you’re out there in the world, you still need to be displaying the same safe practices we’ve been demonstrating on campus here and to continue to do that to protect yourself, and your family, and other members of your community," said Kimberlie Goldsberry, Dean of Students at Carthage College.
Carthage College in Kenosha plans to go full remote instruction after Thanksgiving. It is a move many schools are taking.
Carroll University, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Milwaukee Area Technical College are shifting instruction online at some level until next semester.
"We want to make sure that our students are safe, our employees are safe, and that we don’t help spread COVID in our community from our college," said Vicki Martin, President of Milwaukee Area Technical College.
"My biggest message to our students is don’t forget what kept us safe this whole semester, and keep using those practices once you get home," said Cindy Gnadinger, President of Carroll University.
Schools, including Carroll University and Carthage College, are allowing students who need or want to stay on campus the ability to do so.
For those students traveling home doctors strongly encourage taking every possible precaution.
"You want to make sure that everyone who could sit around Thanksgiving table dinner this year will be able to also sit around it next year," said Dr. Ben Weston, Director of Medical Services for the Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management.
Dr. Weston advised college students should quarantine as much as possible for the 2 weeks before leaving campus and heading home, drive home alone or only with people they live with, and consider getting tested within a few days of going home.
"Remember the negative test is just a snapshot in time. It doesn’t mean you don’t have a virus or that you won’t become contagious or symptomatic in the next few days. It doesn’t negate the need to quarantine, but it is an added layer of protection. By considering each of these items taking risks seriously quarantining as much as possible for two weeks driving if possible considering a test a few days before going home you can hopefully minimize the risk," said Dr. Weston.